? ? ? ? ? ? She once, reportedly, urged the need for the country to own a commercial fleet of airplanes. But now, the Transport Minister, Ms. Dzifa Attivor, capriciously appears to be backing off. “Capriciously,” because her initial observation, as she then claimed, was squarely based on what the Mahama appointee claimed to be the exponential growth of our national economy (See “Ghana Too Broke To Fully Own A National Airline – Minister” MyJoyOnline.com/Ghanaweb.com 11/12/13).

?

One thing is quite clear: Ms. Attivor was simply lying through her teeth, as has become sadly characteristic of many a Ghanaian politician, irrespective of political or ideological affiliation. And so the simple question now becomes: Whatever happened to the climate of exponential economic growth that prompted the Transport Minister to call for a re-ownership of a national commercial airline? For instance, what does the sector minister make of Messrs. Atta-Mills and Dramani Mahama’s purchasing of a fleet of six military aircraft, including a presidential jet, when all that the country can boast of is the mere architectural facade of the Kotoka International Airport?

 

Then also, is the government charging globally competitive fees for the use of the tarmac, catering, maintenance and other physical plant facilities ot Ghana’s only international airstrip to date? I ask the foregoing question because past gross mismanagement of the erstwhile Ghana Airways Corporation (GAC) involved both aircraft and ground facilities.

 

And on the latter score, also, must be recalled the fact that in the waning days of its flight operations, I personally witnessed a Ghana Airways plane unduly delay its flight schedule at New York City’s John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) International Airport for at least an hour. I was later told that such delay was apt to racking up a debt of some $300,000 (or $.3 million). And this was only one single instance on one particular day. And if the dear reader really cares to know, Ghana Airways was at the time flying at least three round trips from New York City to Accra. You do the math, dear reader, and tell me the estimated cost of such gross managerial lack of professionalism in a month, let alone a year; and then subtract from the preceding, revenue generated from ticket sales and other collateral costs and draw up the balance sheet.

 

In The Gambia, we also learned to our horror that the same Ghana Airways overseas representative who managed the corporation’s New York City office and account, also operated the Banjul office as her personal business. Her husband also acted as counsel for the New York City office of the Ghana Airways; and no less significantly, both spouses were also front-seat members of the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) in good standing. This, dear reader, is definitely one of the plethora of reasons why I think the retired strongman-cum- “democratically” elected premier has absolutely no business feeling superior to either his predecessors or his successors. We must also add the fact that Ghana at the under discussion, sub-rented/sub-leased terminal space from the operators of Air Pakistan.

 

In the news article before me, the Transport Minister also talks about the World Bank having cocktailed what Ms. Attivor sanguinely terms as a “Public-Private Partnership” entrepreneurial package for the Government of Ghana, in an apparent bid to stanching the perennial canker of wasteful state-run enterprises. Well, at the risk of waxing inordinately mischievous, let me at least hurriedly observe in passing that such poor, neocolonialist managerial culture is a bona fide carryover from the administratively hermetic and pathologically opaque era of the Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party (CPP).

 

Legend even has it that President Nkrumah started the Ghana Airways on paradoxically wrong footing, for a much-touted fire-spitting African Nationalist, by ordering the purchasing of refurbished superannuated aircraft. Whenever this sad and grim narratological reality of Nkrumah’s shabby leadership acumen is brought to light, the cynical tendency has been for the Show Boy’s most ardent and fanatical supporters to blame his lackeys, minions and political appointees, almost as if to imply that such wrongful choice of administrative assistants were not integral to the hallmarks of genius leadership and/or the screaming lack thereof.

 

To-date, the Transport Minister claims that 13 private airline operators have submitted partnership proposals to the Mahama government. I hope that the entrepreneurial merits of companies short-listed for consideration would be subjected to the most rigorous and progressive of professional scrutiny, with the requisite assessment input solicited from local experts and their well-meaning counterparts abroad.

 

Ultimately, though, if the government intends to only acquire a piddling minority share of 10-percent in such enterprise, as has been widely reported, then it may not be such a worthwhile venture, after all. Conversely, I can foresee the government acquiring at least a 30- to 40-percent majority shares in such a venture, with no other individual and/or corporate partners being allowed to own more shares than the Ghana Government.

 

What this means is that the right to determine who heads this venture must squarely rest with the government, working in close concert with Parliament. Now, listening to Ms. Attivor, it annoyingly appears as if the Mahama lieutenant and her boss are merely looking to piggyback on any entrepreneur quixotic enough to be willing to absorb most of the financial liabilities and uncertainties entailed in such venture. Come on, Ms. Attivor, don’t be so scandalously naive! Ever heard of the following grandfather’s maxim: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”?

 

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

E-mail: [email protected]

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